According to Ph.D. psychologist Robert Epstein, his team of Google monitors captured evidence that between Monday, October 26, 2020, and Thursday, October 29, 2020, Google sent vote reminders to liberal users but not to conservative users. On Thursday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai demanding an explanation.
Cruz, Johnson, and Lee cited Pichai’s August 6 testimony pledging that Google “won’t do any work, you know, to politically tilt anything one way or another. It’s against our core values.” In a follow-up letter, he added, “Google does not modify any products, including Search, to promote a particular political viewpoint…[we] will not do so for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.”
Yet Epstein, who studies the psychological effect of search results, recounted a troubling instance of potential meddling between October 26 and October 29. Epstein has launched an election monitoring project using a politically-diverse group of 733 field agents in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. “Through their computers, we were able to preserve more than 400,000 ephemeral experiences that tech companies use to shift opinions and votes and that normally are lost forever,” Epstein explained to Johnson.
“One of our most disturbing findings so far is that between Monday, October 26th (the day our system became fully operational) and Thursday, October 29th, only our liberal field agents received vote reminders on Google’s home page. Conservatives did not receive even a single vote reminder,” Epstein reported. “This kind of targeting, if present nationwide, could shift millions of votes, in part because Google’s home page is seen 500 million times a day in the U.S.”
This pattern disappeared on October 29. Epstein sent materials about the project to The New York Post‘s Ebony Bowden, who wrote a story on the project. Late that evening, the Post pulled Bowden’s article and Google’s apparent targeting ceased.
“From midnight on the 29th to the end of Election Day, all of our field agents have received the vote reminder. Because of the demographics of the people who use Google, this is still a vote manipulation, but it is far more benign than the extreme targeting we detected last week,” Epstein noted.
“Based on Dr. Epstein’s response, it would appear your assertion that ‘We won’t do any work, you know, to politically tilt anything one way or the other’ is not true,” the senators wrote to Pichai.
“We will be asking Dr. Epstein to provide Congress with the evidence of Google’s politically biased activities his monitoring collected during this election cycle. We are writing to provide you another opportunity to conduct a thorough review with your management team to determine the veracity of your previous responses to the congressional inquiry regarding this issue, and correct your answers if necessary,” the senators concluded. They requested Pichai’s responses by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.
Just a few days before Election Day, Epstein warned Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that Google’s search engine has a “very substantial pro-liberal bias” and could swing 15 million votes in the election. He claimed that Google is effectively making a “huge in-kind donation” to campaigns like that of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“Based on the data that we’re collecting, I would say that if what we’re seeing is present nationwide, they are probably shifting this year in this election about 15 million votes without anyone’s awareness and except for what I’m doing, without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace,” Epstein told Carlson.
“We’re finding very substantial pro-liberal bias in all ten or at least nine out of ten search results on the first page of Google search results… not on Bing or Yahoo though,” Epstein reported. “And we’re seeing that bias in every single demographic group. In fact, in one report we generated recently, we saw more liberal bias in Google content going to conservatives than going to liberals.”
Naturally, the alleged liberal bias in search results may not be intentional or nefarious. The American literary establishment, from universities to legacy media outlets, has shifted to the left in recent decades. Newspapers long known for their high editorial standards, like The New York Times, seem to be squandering their reputations in a rush to gain attention from the Left.
Even if Google intentionally shifts its search results to the Left, the company may claim it is only doing so in the name of objectivity and favoring ostensibly more credible legacy media sources.
The company can claim no such thing in response to the October 26-October 29 biased vote reminders, however.
Epstein, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, has long warned about Google’s power to manipulate elections. In 2017, he wrote a white paper arguing that Clinton’s popular vote margin was almost entirely attributable to pro-Clinton bias at Google. “Without the pro-Clinton bias in Google’s search results, her win margin in the popular vote would have been negligible,” Epstein wrote at the time.
A 2018 survey found that conservative employees in Silicon Valley tech companies live in fear that their political beliefs will be found out. James Damore said conservatives at Google are “in the closet” and that Google executives are digging through a secret email list in order to out them.
In September, a Google whistleblower told Project Veritas that Google News results are intentionally biased against Trump. This seemed to confirm the results of an unscientific test on Google News bias run by PJ Media editor Paula Bolyard last year (tweeted out by Trump himself), and a more scientific study also suggesting bias. The Google News slant is not a conspiracy theory, though Google of course denies manipulating results. After all, Google employees heavily favor Democrats in their political donations.
More than 90 percent of political contributions from employees of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, have gone to Democrats since 2004. In 2018, 96 percent went to Democrats. A former Google engineer said the company will try to prevent Trump’s reelection.
The idea of Big Tech bias seems all the more troubling after Facebook and Twitter took unprecedented actions to suppress a bombshell New York Post story claiming that Joe Biden was actively involved in Hunter Biden’s corrupt overseas dealings, even before the story could be fact-checked. As it turns out, more evidence has come to light backing up the original story, but much of the legacy media has ignored the story. A recent Media Research Center poll suggested that the effort to suppress the story may have handed Biden the election.
Epstein has raised some serious concerns, and the Republican senators were right to demand answers from Pichai. Google has not responded to PJ Media’s request for comment. This story will be updated if Google does respond.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.